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Big Tex is 60 years old this year, but instead of birthday candles to blow out, firefighters had a fully engulfed fire to extinguish.

State Fair Vice President of Marketing Mitchell Glieber said the fire ran up the electrical line to his jaw, destroying the 52-foot icon of the Texas State Fair.

"Probably within 5 minutes or so, all of his clothes were pretty much on fire," said Glieber. "It happened fairly quickly, but there weren't a lot of people in the park."

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The Texas Legislature will be back in a few months facing a budget deficit. Will the next round of state budget cuts clip Texas high school football? Or could expanded gambling in the state help solve education funding shortfalls? Nate Silver writes the New York Times political blog about polls and political probability, Five Thirty Eight, and talks about how useful (and reliable) pre-election opinion polls can be.

Chris Eudaily / Texas Public Radio

Increasing voter turnout in the Texas Latino community - Ben Philpot, a reporter for KUT Austin and the Texas Tribune, explores some of the issues. Ted Cruz and Paul Sadler are trying to position themselves as defenders of a great Texas tradition: gun ownership. What happens if Texas Legislators win their court battle and zero-out state dollars for the Planned Parenthood clinics? A celebrity tour bus rolls into the West Texas town of Sierra Blanca and the there’s a drug bust that makes national headlines.

Fred Lewis, the Director of Texans Together, says the real challenge is getting people involved more often on a local level, so they can see concrete results from participating. University of Texas at San Antonio political science professor Walter Wilson says poorly distributed congressional districts contribute to poor Latino voter turnout. Saul Elbein's article, “No Shows: why so few Texans bother to vote” also explores the reasons why so many people don't even try to get to the polls.

Oops! (A Diary from the 2012 Campaign Trail)
Jay Root

Texas Tribune reporter Jay Root has written a book about the Perry presidential run called “Oops! A Diary From the 2012 Campaign Trail.” The latest issue of Texas Monthly says there’s a battle over the future of UT; Paul Burka is the Texas Monthly senior editor and wrote the article “Storming the Ivory Tower.” Joe Nick Patoski talks about writing his new book: “The Dallas Cowboys: the outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America.”

Howard Chandler Christy

Governor Rick Perry appeals to the religious right by talking about the "myth" of the separation of church and state and Rob Boston from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State responds. Wind energy is revitalizing rural Texas, so what is the future for the renewable energy source? How a Texas winery is using renewable energy to be self-sufficient.

Chris Eudaily / Texas Public Radio

Dead voter letters are one way that Texas scrubs its voter registration rolls. Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and voter registrar Don Sumners says he’s not going along with the Texas plan to scrub the voter rolls, and the state says he is violating the law. Gardner Selby with Politifact Texas talks about how they check statements made by politicians.

Wikipedia Commons user Angr / cc

More from the Democratic National Convention from TPR's Ryan Loyd. Is Texas on the verge of being a fertile ground for Democratic candidates? The Quorum Report's Harvey Kronberg shares his thoughts on future elections in Texas. An update on the Texas juvenile justice system five years since the scandal broke at the Texas Youth Commission.

In the summer of 1994, 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay was reported missing from his home on the near northeast side of San Antonio. You can imagine the shock his mother Beverly and half-sister Carey felt when they learned that he had been found three years later—in Spain. However, the young man who came back to Texas and lived with the family for nearly five months was not Nicholas, but serial child imposter Frédéric Bourdin.

 

Wikimedia Commons

February 3, 2009 marks fifty years since the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly along with fellow Texas music icon J.P."The Big Bopper" Richardson and Richie Valens. They will be remembered and honored in commemoration events across the nation. Lubbock, the hometown of Buddy Holly, is the home of The Buddy Holly Center, which honors his memory year-round, but on the anniversary of the fatal crash they will be having special event. Jessica Camacho is with the Buddy Holly Center.

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